What are price spikes?


Price spikes are rare events that occur when the wholesale price temporarily climbs up to a maximum of ~$19/kWh (inc. GST) in most states, and up to $21/kWh in SA (inc. GST).

They normally last from 30 minutes to two hours, and happen on a handful of occasions each year, with this varying by state. With the help of our app and text message notifications, most Amber customers are able to shift their usage away from price spikes and avoid paying these higher prices. Customers who can avoid price spikes are often able to save beyond our quoted rates (which include some usage during price spikes).

Price spikes are typically caused by the following:

  • Extreme demand on the grid coupled with low availability of renewables - during these times the coal and gas-fired companies charge the highest possible price for the energy they produce, driving up the price of energy
  • Damage to the grid (for example, bushfires taking down major power lines that allow the transfer of power across state lines)
  • Disruption to the service provided by a major power station, such as maintenance or an unexpected breakdown

We're expecting a scorching summer, with Australia set to experience the first El Niño summer in years. When it gets really hot, it can seriously strain the power grid, causing prices to go wild. Normally, there are a few hours each year when the demand maxes out the grid's capacity. During these times, coal and gas generators jack up their prices to a whopping 100 times the usual rates, which makes the wholesale price shoot up temporarily to $3 - $19/kWh inc. GST (up to $21/kWh in SA inc. GST).


What you'll see in the Amber app during a price spike

We've designed the Amber app to help you avoid price spikes by shifting your usage to cheaper and greener times. This is what the Amber app could look like during a price spike lasting a couple of hours.


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